Court Battles

Jan. 6 defendant asks to subpoena Trump as trial witness

A defendant who faces multiple charges connected to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol is asking to subpoena former President Trump, among others, as a trial witness.

Attorney Samuel Shamansky on Friday submitted court filings on behalf of his client, Jan. 6 defendant Dustin Thompson, asking for a judge to allow them to subpoena Trump and others to testify as witnesses in Thompson’s trial. 

“Defendant submits that the individuals he seeks to subpoena are in exclusive possession of information relevant to this case. Moreover, their testimony is necessary to ensure that Defendant’s constitutional right to present a complete defense is safeguarded,” according to the court filings.

“It is anticipated that, when called as a witness, Donald J. Trump will testify that he and others orchestrated a carefully crafted plot to call into question the integrity of the 2020 presidential election and the validity of President Biden’s victory,” the filings add. “Moreover, it will be established at trial that Mr. Trump and his conspirators engaged in a concerted effort to deceive the public, including Defendant, into believing that American democracy was at stake if Congress was permitted to certify the election results.”

The court filings indicate that if Trump and others were compelled to testify in Thompson’s trial, their testimony would show that they had wanted to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results. 

“Defendant submits that the testimony of Mr. Trump and his conspirators will establish that they were determined, by any means necessary, to prevent Congress from fulfilling its constitutional mandate to certify the election results,” the court filings said. “In order to accomplish that goal, the conspirators Defendant now seeks to subpoena engaged in a concerted effort to organize, encourage, and direct rally participants to storm the Capitol, enter the grounds, ‘fight like hell,’ and ‘engage in trial by combat.”

Shamansky said some of the other witnesses they would like to subpoena include former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, conservative lawyer John Eastman, pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and Donald Trump Jr. 

Thompson’s attorney says he expects an opinion to be made soon, but he acknowledged that they may face legal challenges ahead even if the request is approved.

“If and when Judge Walton approves our issues for a subpoena, we fully expect Trump and his co-conspirators to utilize every legal trick in the book to avoid being placed under oath,” Shamansky said.

Thompson faces a string of charges associated with the Jan. 6 attack, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and tried to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election. 

The defendant has been charged with obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; theft of government property; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

According to Thompson’s statement of facts and complaint, security footage inside the Capitol allegedly showed him inside the building holding a bottle of bourbon. The court filings also allege that he ran away from law enforcement after he was found with a coat rack that officials believed was inside the Capitol. 

The Hill has reached out to a spokesperson for Trump for comment.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump jan. 6 riot Joe Biden Rudy Giuliani

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